Wednesday, 27 October 2010

THOMAS COOK SUNRISE HURGHADA: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

Just got back from a week in Hurghada, Egypt where Nelli, myself, (plus daughters #1 & #2) went for a little r&r. This was very close to being a very good holiday but...

The hotel: Sunrise Mamlouk, Hurghada
Let's start with THE GOOD: The hotel - the Sunrise Hurghada - is, in many ways excellent. It's only 20 minutes from the airport, the facilities are pretty good, the rooms are excellent (the soundproofing is terrific!) and the food (for the first three days or so) tasty and interesting. Its got a good beach and an enormous pool area so its easy to make the most of the Egyptian sunshine.

Now let's move on to THE BAD. I got ill (I suspect food poisoning) and judging from what some of the other poor sods were going thru in the queue at the airport coming home I wasn't the only one. The food certainly nosedived in quality after Day 4 - a change of chef perhaps? One other irritant (and this sounds really perverse) was the friendliness of the waiters! I'm all for bonhommie but my two girls did get kinda pissed off with always been leered at and I am sure if one more waiter had asked me 'how many camels did I want for the girl' murder would have been done - Ellie was getting pretty stoked by the end of the hols. We were scheduled to do on two tours (I missed the second to Luxor because I was bouncing between bed and bog): the snorkling one was a real disappointment. The organisation was chaotic (and it's difficult to relax when you think yourself in danger of being marooned on a desert island) and the sealife nondescript. The Red Sea isn't a patch on the Caribbean. Hughada town itself was an odd place too, sort of plasticy and artificial. The shops only seemed to sell tat (though they do a good line in rip-off Ray Bans) and the absence of local women on the streets was a little freaky too.

Hurghada taken enroute to snorkling
Now THE UGLY. I guess this turns on the little corruptions that invade life in Egypt. The airport touts who promise to get unsuspecting Brits to the head of the queue and then just abandon them there to face to ire of the porr sods who have been queing for forty minutes...the promise of a free service which turns out to be bloody expensive...

Couple of other points. If you're over six feet tall you're gonna have a REAL problem in Thomas Cook's aircraft: the legroom is non-existent. Watch out for the hidden extras too: I think the charges made to pre-book seats were nothing short of extortionate and the beer prices on the snorkling tour were really up there.

Still the girls enjoyed it and I'm sure my mood will mellow once I have regained control of my bowels.

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